Sixty-three teens? You go, Moorestown Theater Company. All ages take part in shows, with the occasional local ringer. Insane is their summer: Disney's High School Musical Jr. (through Friday); Wizard of Oz (July 20-23 and 26-29) with 6ABC's Rick Williams as Cowardly Lion; Willy Wonka Jr. (Aug. 2-3); West Side Story: School Edition, with - yikes! - 63 teens in the cast (Aug. 16-18); and Broadway Kids III (Aug. 23-25).
Beam me over. Thursday night at Christ Church Neighborhood House, Tiny Dynamite debuts G.S. Watson's Perfect Blue (through July 30), with one actor (Emma Gibson) onstage, and another (Harry Smith) in England, projected live.
Smith is installed in a Victorian house in London. "That sense of distance is central to the story," he says. "We're keeping that air of authenticity. If I were to do this in my home in Philly and pretend it was a Victorian house in London, people would smell a rat." It's all specially wired for video. "There will be cameras all over the house," director David O'Connor says. All are remotely accessible, so designer Jorge Cousineau can choose shots as they go. "We'll be cutting from camera to camera, room to room," O'Connor says.
Cousineau says the story takes place in 2038: "The wife has been hired to work in the U.S. by a big corporation that has the future of genetic engineering in their hands." Besides that big screen, Cousineau's set has "a lab/ greenhouse/ overgrown scenario. The question is, are we ever able to be in control of nature?"
Smith says, "It's a conceivable yet terrifying sci-fi story and a satisfying conclusion that makes you more aware of what's happening in the world." And that's what drama does.
Henry/Emilie. Delaware Shakespeare in Wilmington is doing Henry V (Friday to July 30) with Temple grad Emilie Krause as Henry - not as a woman, but as a man who happens to be played by a woman.
Wearing authority, Krause says, has been her biggest challenge as Henry: "I'm not that used to walking into a room and assuming leadership, of showing that mix of vulnerability, awareness, and power." Director Jessica Bedford wonders how audiences will react when a woman-playing-a-king takes control. "Are women allowed to be ambitious? Do we accept that?" she asks.
Henry "didn't know he was going to win," Krause says. "He sees that 5-1 advantage the French had, and he isn't sure at all about it." For Bedford, the question is: "How do we experience his risk of failure?"
The trickiest bit, Krause says, was the wooing scene in Act 5 with Katharine of France. "He goes through every kind of wooing strategy - polite, jesting, self-deprecating - to get her to trust him enough to speak to him about her feelings. But even here, he's a vulnerable leader: He's asking for her consent." Fascinating.
Good to the last drop. I'm still getting emails about Lantern Theater's The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens, and Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord. It closed Sunday - the very day Teresa Kerr of Southampton wrote me: "I saw it yesterday and found it to be funny, thought-provoking, well-written, and highly entertaining. The actors were fantastic!" One of the season's best.